New rules for the 2020/21 Season?

When the 2019/20 season resumed once it was deemed safest to do so a few changes were made to the rules of our beautiful game.  Now we are about to enter the 2020/21 season each league has been given the opportunity to either revert back to the age old rules or to seize the moment and evolve with modern times.  All the EPL clubs got together today (03/09/20) to discuss and vote on whether they want to embrace one of the rule changes from the end of last season.

Three substitutions or five substitutions was the discussion and with no surprise the top six clubs all voted for the change. However the rule will revert back to three substitutes due to a majority of the remaining clubs declining any possible change.

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I haven't entirely made my mind up on this matter at present time as I see the positives and the glaringly obvious negatives.  So let's look at two of the big reasons why allowing five subs in a game would be a bad thing:

- Can you imagine the likes of Manchester City being allowed to bring on five players considering the depth of their squad, it would be ridiculous.  They would be able to almost change their entire team and tactics every game due to the depth of talent they hold. Say they start off with KDB, Fernandinho, Foden, Sterling, Aguero and Torres in a 4-3-3 lineup.  For whatever reason they aren't having the best of games going forward, they can then make household changes to go after the win by bringing on the likes of Jesus, Silva, Mahrez, Rodrigo and Gundogan.  What team within the EPL can compete with a bench like that, not many, if any is the answer.

- Now take out bench depth and look at those wily old dogs like Mourinho who like to drain the soul out of the game, can you imagine the time wasting they could do with five substitutes.  I can guarantee there would be a large number of people out there throwing their remotes, slippers, drinks and even their cat at the T.V. when from the 80th minute a coach makes a sub every other minute, if they still had all five up their sleeve to run the clock down.  It would be a nightmare.

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Well that's the downside of five subs now here are the positive's:

- Would allow every club to better man manage players and hopefully avoid or at least minimise injuries that are primarily caused by overuse or being run-down due to the high number of games in a short period of time.  This benefits even the smaller teams in the league who do not have huge squad numbers especially over the busy Christmas period.

- Fresher legs in theory mean a faster game and one could make the argument for more goals due to the number of fresh legs against those who have been on the pitch from start of the match.

- Allows whichever team isn't performing that well to make multiple alterations to both players and tactics and therefore hopefully provide a more competitive match every week.

- For me this is the main and biggest positive to introduce five subs: It would enable clubs to offer academy players more opportunities in the first team which in turn encourages the young lads while also boosting their development within the club, instead of farming them out on loan.  This can be done when your team is either up or down by a few goals, the manager is still able to make his usual three senior changes as he normally would but then also throw on a youngster or two for the last 15 or more minutes.

As I said earlier I'm not too sure what is actually best because the one major negative is a rather big one and could see our league dominated even more than it currently is by the powerhouse clubs like the two Manchester teams, Chelsea, and our beloved LFC.

On the other hand the massive positive of being able to develop your academy players without having to loan them out or sacrificing your first team's progress is rather alluring.  Can you imagine being able to provide Elliott, Jones, Neco and one or two other young lads more opportunities to grace the field with our current LFC superstars.  Besides nurturing their development within the club it would also provide confirmation for the coaching staff whether they're good enough to make it or not.

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One other thing to take in to consideration is not so much the affect it will have on the EPL ladder but how will the English clubs fair against our European counterparts that are allowing five substitutes per game. The Bundesliga have elected to allow this rule change to continue into the new season, this will (well should) give the likes of Bayern Munich an advantage (not as if they needed one) as their players will be a lot fresher for European matches than players that compete in leagues where only three subs are allowed.

Also are UEFA going to allow five or three subs in their upcoming competitions? Either way, one side will have to drastically alter the methods and tactics they undertake in their home league versus when they play in Europe.

This is why it should never have been allowed for individual leagues and organisations to determine which rule they would incorporate into their league. It should be a blanket rule for all professional football. The one thing we all can be thankful for though, NO MORE DRINKS BREAKS (unless the powers that be bring it back for the World Cup, since it's going to be played on the Sun).

Finally - don't forget the lads not on international duty will participate in a pre-season friendly that is being aired on LFC TV and who know's where else you might find it.....

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